Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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Stanley and Kathryn Wasserman are the successors in interest to an easement created in 1915 for the purpose of draining what is now their farmland over land now owned by the City of Freemont. After the City unilaterally replaced plastic drainage tiles across the easement with a single drainage pipe and rerouted the drainage pathway, the Wassermans sued in mandamus, alleging an unconstitutional taking. The court of appeals concluded that the City violated the easement and that the Wassermans were entitled to a determination of whether a taking had actually occurred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the express easement language gave the owner of the original servient estate the right to determine the lines by which the drainage system should run through the land, and as the current owner of the servient estate, the City retained the right to change the route of the drainage tile as long as it continued to drain the Wassermans’ land; and (2) under the facts of this case, the City did not violate the easement.View "State ex rel. Wasserman v. City of Fremont" on Justia Law

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In 2009, the Harrison County Board of Revision (BOR) issued two orders purporting to determine the value of two parcels owned by L.J. Smith, Inc. However, the BOR did not certify a transcript showing the filing of the complaint. Smith prosecuted an appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) challenging the valuation. The BTA remanded the case to the BOR with instructions to vacate its decision, concluding that “nothing in the record demonstrated that Smith did, in fact, file a complaint” with the BOR. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the presumption of regularity was rebutted by the BOR’s failure to certify a transcript under these circumstances, and therefore, the BTA should not have relied on that presumption; but (2) the BTA acted reasonably and lawfully in deeming the evidence of filing to be insufficient and in vacating the BOR order. View "L.J. Smith, Inc. v. Harrison County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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In tax year 2007, a county fiscal officer valued an improved 6.415-acre parcel in the county at $8,740,000, consistent with the property's 2004 sale price. The property owner filed an amended complaint seeking a reduction to $3,100,000. The board of revision issued a decision retaining the fiscal officer’s valuation of the property. The owner and the school board of education both appealed. Before the board of tax appeals (BTA), the parties presented competing appraisals. The BTA accepted the owner’s appraisal and assigned a value of $3,100,000. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the school board did not show that the BTA’s acceptance of the valuation presented by the owner was unlawful or unreasonable; and (2) the record supported the BTA’s decision.View "Health Care REIT, Inc. v. Cuyahoga County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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The county auditor assigned an aggregate value for four properties of $468,470 for the tax year 2008, which represented a significant increase over the aggregate valuation of the parcels’ two ancestor parcels. After a hearing before the county board of revision (BOR), the aggregate valuation of the four parcels changed to $383,180. The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) reversed, holding that the sale price of $135,000 from a 2006 transaction was the best evidence of value of the four parcels on the tax-lien date for tax year 2008. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the 2006 purchase of the two ancestor parcels was not recent to the 2008 tax lien date because Appellant changed the character of the property when it split the two parcels into four total parcels in 2007.View "Richman Props., LLC v. Medina County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case were thirteen unbuilt lots in a residential subdivision. For the tax year 2008, the county auditor set the value of each lot at $105,000. Taxpayer filed a complaint challenging the valuation and proposing a reduced value of $65,000 for each of the lots. After a hearing, the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) rejected the comparable-sales appraisal submitted by Taxpayer and reverted to the county’s valuation of the parcels, concluding that Taxpayer failed to meet its burden of showing a different value. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Taxpayer presented evidence that negated the auditor’s valuation of the unbuilt lots and triggered the BTA’s duty to perform an independent valuation of the property for tax year 2008. View "Apple Group Ltd. v. Medina County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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East Bank Condominiums II, LLC filed valuation complaints challenging the county auditor’s assessment of twenty-one units in a condominium complex owned by East Bank. The county auditor valued each unit as a separate parcel. The Dublin City Schools Board of Education filed countercomplaints seeking to retain the auditor’s valuations. The Board of Revision (BOR) disagreed with the assessment and accepted the bulk-appraisal valuation that East Bank submitted. The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) reinstated the county auditor’s valuations. The Supreme Court reversed the BTA, holding that the BTA erred in reverting back to the auditor’s determination of value. The school board moved for reconsideration. The Supreme Court granted in part the school board’s motion, holding (1) the BTA was correct in rejecting East Bank’s bulk-appraisal valuation for the units; but (2) the BTA was incorrect in adopting the auditor’s valuations. Remanded to the BTA for an independent determination of value.View "Dublin City Schs. Bd. of Educ. v. Franklin County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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Appellant-mortgagee filed a complaint seeking to foreclose on property owned by Appellees-mortgagors. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellant. The court of appeals dismissed Appellees’ appeal, finding that the district court’s order was not final and appealable because it did not set forth the dollar amount of the balance due on the mortgage. On remand, the trial court stated a dollar amount of the balance due on the mortgage and included in its judgment decree unspecified amounts advanced by Appellant for inspections, appraisals, property protection, and maintenance. The court of appeal dismissed Appellees’ appeal, concluding that the trial court again failed to issue a final, appealable order because it did not include in its judgment specific itemization of the amounts expended by Appellant for inspections, appraisals, and the like. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a judgment decree in foreclosure that allows as part of recoverable damages unspecified amounts advanced by the mortgagee for inspections, appraisals, and the like is a final, appealable order; and (2) a mortgagor may challenge those amounts as part of the proceedings to confirm the foreclosure sale and appeal the order of confirmation. Remanded.View "CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Roznowski" on Justia Law

Posted in: Real Estate Law

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James Navratil Development Company (JNDC) filed a valuation complaint. The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) remanded the cause and ordered the Medina County Board of Revision to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction because JNDC did not properly identify itself as the owner of the property on the face of the complaint. JNDC appealed. While the parties were filing briefs in the appeal, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Groveport Madison Local Schs. Bd. of Educ. v. Franklin County Bd. of Revision, in which the Court held that it is not a jurisdictional requirement to correctly name the owner of the subject property in a valuation complaint. On the authority of Groveport Madison, the Supreme Court reversed the BTA’s decision, holding that the defect in the complaint was not jurisdictional, and the BTA erred in holding that it was. Remanded.View "James Navratil Dev. Co. v. Medina County Bd. of Revision" on Justia Law

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Appellant was found guilty of four felonies, with forfeiture specifications, for running a marijuana-distribution operation out of a building he and his brothers owned on Scranton Road. Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy McDonnell issued a sentencing entry listing the property at Scranton Road as property to be forfeited. On October 11, 2011, Appellant appealed the sentencing order. On January 13, 2012, Judge McDonnell issued a journal entry reiterating Appellant’s sentence and ordering transfer of the property. On October 23, 2012, Appellant sought a writ of prohibition to vacate Judge McDonnell’s January 13, 2012 order, arguing that Judge McDonnell lacked jurisdiction to enter the order. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s petition, concluding that Ohio Rev. Code 2981.04 vested Judge McDonnell with jurisdiction to conduct forfeiture proceedings even after the notice of appeal was filed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Judge McDonnell did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction and that any errors in the proceedings should be addressed on appeal. View "State ex rel. West v. McDonnell" on Justia Law

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Greg Bell and his attorney, Philip Cramer, were party and counsel in court proceedings originating from an appropriation action filed by the Madison County Board of Commissioners against Bell and his wife to acquire a sewer easement on Bell’s property. The court of common pleas held that the Board was entitled to an easement. Thereafter, Bell, through Cramer, filed a complaint asserting various causes of action related to the appropriation case. The case was dismissed the case based on res judicata. Thereafter, Bell, represented by Cramer, filed an action for a writ of mandamus requesting that the court of appeals order the Board to provide him with due process in the taking of his real property rights and to comply with a consent agreement. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint, and the Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, the Board filed a motion for sanctions against Bell and Cramer. The court of appeals granted the motion for sanctions in the amount of $21,137, concluding that Bell and Cramer had engaged in frivolous conduct. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the mandamus action was clearly frivolous and adversely affected the Board, and the fees awarded were reasonable. View "State ex rel. Bell v. Madison County Bd. of Comm’rs" on Justia Law